Reimagining the Role of Folklore in the 21st Century: Don’t We Need New Ones?
Keywords:folklore, gender fluidity, social identity, folktales
If you ask any South African child who attended school in the 20th century to name one folktale, they will be able to do so without hesitation. But, if you ask children today this identical question, many of them will pause for a long time to think before responding. Nowadays, the majority of children do not grow up hearing folktales like they used to. Contrary to popular belief, folktales serve an important role in children’s education and upbringing, according to several folklore specialists. Folktales can provide role models that instil moral principles in youngsters, including decency, solidarity, and compassion. Folktales further aid in the formation of social identities. Folktales have recently been mentioned as a potential draw for the South African tourism industry. All of these are true, but one has to wonder whether these instances of folklore’s contribution are consistent with the educational requirements of today. Do they emphasise difficulties that children encounter in schools, such as gender identities, new family structures, changing roles for women in society, pandemic health problems, embracing diversity in cases involving foreigners, multilingualism, and language development? In order to encourage young authors to continue creating new works that preserve and address the ideals of contemporary society, this article will synthesise these topics. By doing this, I hope to inspire writers to prepare for the future in the same way that those who came before us did.
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